• First review of the album for James Williamson & The Pink Hearts

  • Birth of the Celibate Rifles

  • Why The Fleshtones still drink for free

Motors, Women, Booze, Drugs. Booze & Killing - The Sick Livers (self released)

sick-livers-epThere’s a case to be made for not messing with the tried and tested formula of two sharp-edged guitars, a raucous singer and an energetic engine room and Welsh band The Sick Livers knows it only too well.

If you thought South Wales was only good for rugby union, Harry Secombe and massed male choirs, think again. The Sick Livers add glam punk (“glunk”) to the list in emphatic style. “Motors, Women, Drugs, Booze & Killing” doesn’t break any fresh ground in terms of musical style or lyrical content - but don’t let that deter you if you prefer your cocktails served in the gutter without extraneous fruit or little paper umbrellas.

These five gnarly Welshmen won’t win any beauty contests but latch onto three chords like a starving Pembroke Corgi chomping down on a Glamorgan sausage after a five-day fast. They name-check Turbonegro (and especially fair call) and Backyard Babies in their bio and even some bloke called Glen Matlock likes ‘em. No, that doesn’t mean they sound like the Beatles, smart arse.

Real Times - Johnny Thunders (Remarquable Records)

thunders-remarquableThis is the initial release on the Remarquable label and what a way to start. Basically the deal is that these folks have gotten their hands on some utterly prime Johnny Thunders music that no one has heard before. They are focusing on the year 1978, when Johnny was on Real Records and put out his classic solo album "So Alone".

This first EP (more is promised) is a beautifully-packaged 10" record with four songs ("Leave me Alone"/Great Big Kiss"/"Pipeline"/"London Boys") recorded early January 1978, a mere two weeks after Walter Lure and Billy Rath had called it quits and returned to NYC from London, where the Heartbreakers had relocated to in 1977.

Lavish new Pretty Things box set drops in February

Listen up if you’re proudly “collector scum”, a completist or just an appreciator of one of the greatest rock and roll bands to have walked the planet.

For more than 50 fifty years, The Pretty Things have proudly, unapologetically and righteously scorched their own, unique trail through contemporary music. A half-century (plus) of the raunchiest white-boy rhythm and blues, of punch-ups, dazzling highs and epic struggles, of innovation and exultation, lauded by their peers, vilified by authority, a crucial influence on successive generations of acts, The Pretty Things make it to the mid-20-teens with mojo intact and edge unblunted.

This epochal British rock 'n' roll band is justly being celebrated by way of “Bouquets From A Cloudy Sky”, a lavish multi-media box set due out in February in a limited edition of 2000.

The Television Addicts play the songs of The Victims

television-addictsThe planets have aligned and the World's Worst Kept Secret is out. Legendary Perth punk band The Victims are (almost) reforming for select Australian East Coast shows.

The Victims were temporarily reincarnated in the guise of The Television Addicts, playing a one-off gig at The Rosemount Hotel in North Perth in August last year.

Founding Victims members James Baker and Dave ("Flick") Faulkner were joined on stage by lifelong Victims fan Ray Ahn and the trio proceeded to belt out a set of classic Victims tunes, most of which had not been heard since the band broke up in mid-1978.

Another unannounced gig followed in Sydney for Clyde Bramley's 60th birthday party. 

This February, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane will also get a chance to see The Television Addicts for one night only.

Thursday 12 Feb: The Reverence Hotel, Footscray VIC
(supported by Sun God Replica and Deep Heat)
Tix: www.reverencehotel.com

Friday 13 Feb:
Newtown Social Club, Newtown NSW
(supported by Bruce and Thorax)
Tix: www.newtownsocialclub.com

Saturday 14 Feb:
Punkfest at The Prince Of Wales Hotel, Nundah QLD
(supported by Screamfeeder, 1.1.1 and Loud Goes Bang)
Tix: www.oztix.com.au

This is the closest thing you’ll get to a full-blown Victims reunion. Come and see what all the fuss is about.

 

Outta Ammo - VeeBees (Ocker Records)

outta-ammoThis album stinks so much of stale beer that you’ll wonder if you hit your head on the footpath on a late-night bender and woke up in a homeless shelter It reeks of hops - and i don’t mean that nancy boy craft shit either. This is your stock standard, public bar piss. So fuck off if you want a cocktail.

Which should all be no surprise. It’s the fourth studio album in 15 years for the VeeBees and “Outta Ammo” is no great departure, sonically speaking, from its predecessors. It’s crude and dirty with a nod to Moorhead, the Tatts, Powder Monkeys and the Psychos. When you’re on a good thing, why not stick to it?

Aussie Yob Rock has been around since Thorpey plugged in and killed that tankful of fish to the sound of punters yelling “Suck more piss.” VeeBees bypass boogie and play it with an edge that betrays listening to lots of hardcore, especially Black Flag.

Mark Steiner brings "Saudade" Down Under

steiner-headshotNorwegian musical troubadour Mark Steiner has had a ongoing love affair with Australia since 2008 when he first visited our shores, fulfilling a self-promise after hearing the music of Rowland S. Howard when he was a teen growing up in New York in the ‘80s. He’s now making his fourth trip Down Under, playing songs from his latest album, “Saudade”, in and around Melbourne in January.

A purveyor of melancholic lounge-noir compositions, Steiner’s commanding voice and dark, sinewy rhythms of electric guitar have been described as “the epitome of a booze-soaked evening in a dirty clandestine bar and an ashtray full of pain”

We Will Riot – Mr Flabio (Conquest Of Noise)

we-will-riotThis record is so smart it should have lifetime membership of Mensa, but its a cleverness that's never snobbish or intellectual. Mr Flabio sits back, tongue in cheek and pen at the ready, and takes aim at the directionless, the Interwebs generation and yes, you and me, with withering accuracy. This is melodic fuzz guitars played at stun volume and Mr Flabio’s sardonic barbs are meted out with sugar hits embedded in their pop hooks.

Let’s get this out of the way up front: “We Will Riot” is a grunge record. It’s just gone 2015 and someone is actually making a grunge record? What the fuck’s grunge anyway? You expected Silverchair with short hair? Nirvana wearing nursing home pyjamas?

Mudhoney says Kim Salmon invented it and who are we to argue? When you got down to it, grunge was really just a bunch of tuned-down metallised guitars and anguished punk rock vocals with shithouse dress sense. It got the major labels a little too excited and wiped the musical landscape clean for any other form of rock and roll – and not necessarily in a good way.

In Good Company - Fox Company (self released)

fox-companyI have a bad reputation as a reviewer.  Though 70 percent of my reviews are fanatically positive, I can be harsh on anyone I find not pulling their weight.  But, given the fact I have a collection of several thousand discs, I can’t be THAT fussy, can I?  Christ, all I generally ask is that you don’t scrape your knuckles on the floor.

Fox Company don’t really fit into my preferred choice of listening.  For me, they float uncomfortably close to the world of Guns ’n’ Roses.  But I also know that floating uncomfortably close to the world of Guns ’n’ Roses isn’t necessarily considered to be a bad thing by a huge chunk of people who listen to rock music and, in particular, that chunk of readers who view me as a cranky and crusty old relic.

Lax Charisma of The Nice Folk on life as a musical underground outlaw

nice-folk-backA few weeks ago at the Factory Floor in Sydney, I caught The Nice Folk supporting Harry Howard and The NDE and The Holy Soul. 

The Nice Folk (for me) were a cross beyween early Captain Beefheart Magic Band and Pere Ubu. I wrote that they could "pull out a slow, sleazy blues song and switch to early Beasts of Bourbon-like sloppy and swampy excursions". What really struck me that night, however, was that they captured a spirit of an Australian music scene from a long time ago.

In the ’80s, pre-Nirvana, pre-Ratcat. pre-corporate festivals - and the boozed up smashed bogans with Southern Cross tatts thinking they are cool one day of the year going to the Big Day Out - there were bands like The Nice Folk. These bands knew they were never going to capture a place in the commercial charts. They were truly underground.

This let to music that was free from attempting to be accessible. It was about the band and music first and not getting them “Suck-cess”. Bands like the Laughing Clowns, Lubricated Goat, Box The Jesuit and the early Wet Taxis. Which is why I really liked The Nice Folk. They had a similar attitude and devotion to their music.

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